A jury awarded a Tucson family $6 million recently in a lawsuit brought after an ailing 81-year-old relative died of a morphine overdose. Mary Culpepper and two other relatives were awarded $2 million each in the wrongful death lawsuit. Ms. Culpepper sued Manor Care Health Services, Tucson Medical Center, a doctor, a nurse and the pharmacy over the December 8, 2003, death of her mother, Sylvia Culpepper. Her mother was admitted to TMC on December 2, 2003, suffering from sciatica, a painful nerve condition.
Two days after the admission, the patient was prescribed 15 milligrams of morphine twice a day. Two days later, her dosage increased to 30 milligrams, twice a day. When she was transferred from TMC to Manor Care, prescription orders contained both dosages. The Manor Care staff failed to note the discrepancy in the prescriptions and gave her both dosages, both twice a day. An autopsy determined that the woman died of acute morphine intoxication. The jury found the doctor, nurse and pharmacy to be without fault and not to blame for the death. Under the applicable law, Manor Care will pay 90% of the verdict and TMC will pay 10%.
Source: Tucson Citizen
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